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Mini Metro adds Endless Mode

Playdigious and Dinosaur Polo club have released an update to their highly-acclaimed Mini Metro, adding the long-awaited Endless Mode. Covered in our App Diary and selected as our 2016 Game of the Year, Mini Metro is an addictive puzzle-strategy game with a simple premise: players are tasked with creating an efficient rail system in a growing city, connecting rail stations on a variety of different maps to ensure the smooth flow of passengers within a limited amount of time — the goal being to move the highest number of passengers before one of your stations fills up to capacity, ending the game. With Endless Mode in the latest update, players now have the option of open-ended gameplay where time is no longer a stress factor, allowing for a more zen-like gameplay experience to experiment, design, and operate the subway grid of your dreams.

Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights

Apple has issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s recent decision to rescind protections for transgender students that would have allowed them to use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Trump overruled his own education secretary’s recommendations, siding with his attorney general in a decision to reverse the Obama administration’s interpretation of nondiscrimination laws, stating that the directive was “improperly and arbitrarily devised ... without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.” In a statement to Axios, an Apple spokesperson criticized the Trump administration’s decision, effectively calling it a step back in the rights and acceptance of transgender students.

Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections.

Apple has long been a supporter of LGBT rights and anti-discrimination in general, getting involved as far back as early 2014 in urging the Governor of Arizona to veto a “religious freedom” bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on their religious beliefs. In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed column for the Washington Post in response to a similar “religious freedom” bill passed in Indiana, declaring such laws as dangerous, and stating that “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”

ResearchKit study conducted using Apple Watch reveals new insights into seizures

The American Academy of Neurology has announced the recent conclusion of a ResearchKit study in which an Apple Watch app was used to track seizures in people with epilepsy. According to a preliminary study of the results scheduled to be presented at the Academy’s Annual Meeting in April, the research found that the most frequent triggers for seizures were stress and missed sleep. The ten-month study involved 598 volunteers who agreed to use a ResearchKit app called EpiWatch to track their seizures. Participants were asked to open the EpiWatch app whenever they felt a seizure aura starting, which then recorded their heart rate and movements for 10 minutes, after which they were asked to perform tasks to test their responsiveness, and then presented with a brief survey collecting data on seizure type, aura, loss of awareness, and possible seizure triggers. Forty percent of the participants tracked a total of 1,485 seizures, with 177 reporting more details on what triggered their seizures. Stress was the most commonly reported trigger, linked to 37 percent of seizures, while lack of sleep was identified as a trigger for 18 percent of the seizures, menstruation for 12 percent, and overexertion for 11 percent. Other reported triggers included diet, missed medications and fever or infection. Seizure triggers did not vary by the type of seizure people had.

Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post

Instagram has rolled out an update to its iOS app today allowing users to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post. When uploading photos, a new icon in the bottom right of the photo offers the option “select multiple,” after which users can choose to apply a filter to all the images/videos at once or edit each individually. The posts will all share the same caption and can only be square shaped for the time being. The first image will appear in followers’ feeds with an icon in the bottom right corner indicating there are more photos or videos attached, allowing users to swipe them to see more. The move is the latest push by Instagram to add new features to its tried-and-true single-image formula, following the addition of the Snapchat-like Stories feature last year and the inclusion of support for the iPhone 7’s Live Photos last month.

Facebook’s talks with MLB raise possibility that game streams could come to Apple TV

Facebook is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game each week during the 2017 season, Reuters reports. The move raises the possibility that the broadcast could also land on the company’s new Apple TV app, similar to the deal reached by Twitter to stream Thursday night NFL games on the device. While Facebook’s promises about its upcoming Apple TV video app make no mention of using it to stream live sports, the company has been making deals to stream everything from Mexican soccer games to table tennis matches, and sources close to the discussions say the company is already in “advanced talks” with MLB.

Analyst claims wireless charging will be included in ‘iPhone 8,’ but rules out Energous as provider

Despite claims from wireless charging startup Energous’ CEO that seemed to hint at a partnership with Apple, a research note from Cowen and Company claims Energous is unlikely to provide the wireless charging technology rumored to be coming to the “iPhone 8,” Apple Insider reports. Back in January Energous CEO Steve Rizzone claimed his company had partnered with “one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world,” leading to speculation that he was talking about Apple since his company had signed a big deal with Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor in December 2016.

Apple claims EU made ‘fundamental errors’ in calculating $14B Irish tax ruling

Newly published details of Apple’s appeal to the EU over last year’s $14 billion tax judgment reveal the company claims the European commission made “fundamental errors” in calculating the tax bill, The Irish Times reports. Apple cited 14 separate objections to the ruling in the filing made on December 19, 2016, arguing that the commission misinterpreted Irish law, ignored expert testimony, and wrongly attributed income from intellectual property based in the United States to Ireland. After a three-year investigation, the commission ruled that Ireland had dodged international tax rules, letting Apple use its country as a tax shelter for profits from other European nations in exchange for maintaining jobs within the country. [via MacRumors]

Analyst: ‘iPhone 8’ to feature ‘revolutionary’ front-facing camera with 3D sensors

Well-respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that Apple will include a “revolutionary” front-facing camera in the rumored “iPhone 8,” combining three different modules to achieve full 3D sensor capabilities. The claim comes on the heels of a report last week that Apple was considering dropping Touch ID from all 2017 iPhones in favor of a using new 3D facial recognition technology to unlock the devices. Kuo said in addition to the current front camera module, the new “iPhone 8” will include both an infrared transmitting module and an infrared receiver used in tandem to detect the depth of objects placed in front of the camera. The phone will then merge the data from the traditional 2D photo with the IR information to enable either facial or iris recognition. While the previous report claimed the 3D technology will be included in all 2017 iPhones, Kuo thinks the feature will be exclusive to the premium OLED “iPhone 8” before being rolled out to the rear cameras in future models. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases third betas for iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2, and watchOS 3.2 to developers

Apple has released a third batch of new betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.

Happy Presidents’ Day from iLounge

Happy Presidents’ Day from all of us here at iLounge! In observance of the U.S. holiday, alongside Family Day in Canada, we’ll be on a limited publishing schedule today. We will be back to normal updates tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 21. Thanks for reading!

Apple plans to begin iPhone manufacturing in India starting with the iPhone SE

Apple is planning to forge ahead with its plans to manufacture iPhone units in India, beginning with the iPhone SE, according to a new report in India’s Economic Times. Citing sources familiar with the company’s plans, the report indicates that Apple will initially assemble 300,000 - 400,000 units of the iPhone SE model at a plant in Karnataka being set up by Wistron, a company that Apple has contracted with for its manufacturing plans in India. Apple is expected to move ahead with its manufacturing plans without waiting for the concessions it has been requesting from the Indian government, with a source suggesting that Apple wants to “experience manufacturing in India.” A senior government official told the Economic Times that this is merely a small venture to get started, and that the concessions Apple is requesting from the country are “for the larger plans of the company to really scale up manufacturing in India.” A source in the contract manufacturing industry indicated that Wistron is ready to begin assembling the iPhones as early as April.

Rumor: iPhone 8 to eliminate Touch ID in favor of Facial Recognition

Apple may be planning to phase out Touch ID in favour of a new facial recognition technology, according to a new research note by JPMorgan analyst Rob Hall, reported by MacRumors. Hall indicates that the rumoured 5.8-inch iPhone with edge-to-edge OLED display would phase out Touch ID due to Apple’s removal of the home button to accommodate the new display, replacing it instead with a front-facing 3D laser scanner. His research note also suggests that the volume of the module being produced within Apple’s supply chain suggests that it won’t be exclusive to the higher-end 5.8-inch iPhone either, claiming that the lower-end “iPhone 7s” and “iPhone 7s Plus” models could also include the technology. The additional costs of the 3D laser scanner would be yet another component that could cause the new high-end iPhone to have a starting price tag of over $1,000.

Report: Apple working on 4K for next-generation Apple TV

Apple is planning to release a new Apple TV sometime this year which will include ultra-high-definition 4K support, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with the plans, the Apple TV is internally codenamed “J105” and will also feature more vivid colors, but little else is known about the new device. Sources suspect that it may not include any other significant new features beyond the processor upgrade necessary to support the higher 4K resolution.

Apple announces WWDC 2017

Apple has announced details for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which is scheduled to be held from Jun. 5 - 9 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Registration is scheduled to open Mar. 27 at 10:00 a.m. PDT, with the opportunity to purchase tickets being offered by random selection. Only those who are members of the Apple Developer Program as of the release of today’s announcement will be eligible to register for the conference. It’s expected that Apple will unveil the next major versions of iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS at the conference, and as in prior years, Apple will offer videos of the conference sessions for developers who cannot attend in person.

Apple patent points to possible new Smart Keyboard with dedicated ‘Share’ and ‘Emoji’ keys

A new Apple patent application outlines some possible ideas that Apple may be working on for a new iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, including the addition of new dedicated keys for sharing, accessing search and Siri features, and bringing up the Emoji keyboard. The patent application, titled User Interface for a Touch Screen Device in Communication with a Physical Keyboard, primarily concerns itself with “user interfaces for viewing, creating, editing, and sharing content on an electronic device” in relation to accepting multiple inputs — both on the touchscreen surface, as well as in conjunction with a physical keyboard. Much of the information outlined in the patent application reflects techniques already in use by Apple, such as finger gestures, focus selectors, and use of cursor keys and key combinations. However, the patent notably outlines new keys, such as a dedicated Share key that would bring up the iOS share sheet, an Emoji key that would presumably activate the on-screen emoji keyboard, and a magnifying glass key that could be used to bring up the Spotlight search window and/or activate Siri. As with most Apple patent applications, of course, it’s unclear whether any of the new features illustrated here will ever come to fruition. [via MacRumors]

 

Jaguar announces in-car Apple Pay payment option at UK Shell gas stations

With a new Shell app, owners of the 2018 Jaguar F-PACE, XE and XF will be able to use Apple Pay to purchase their gas while sitting behind the wheel, the car maker announced. Once the Shell app is installed, drivers can pull up to the pump and select how much fuel they want using the car’s touch screen before completing the transaction with Apple Pay. While you’ll still have to pump the gas the old fashioned way, the move lets users avoid using the store’s card reader to reduce the odds of their credit card information being intercepted. The rollout is starting in the U.K., with Jaguar promising to eventually launch the update globally, making the Shell app “available across the entire Jaguar and Land Rover ranges.”

Shareholders seek more diversity in Apple upper management

A small group of investors is pushing Apple to increase diversity on its board of directors and at senior management levels, but the company is pushing back against those efforts, The Verge reports. For the second straight year, investor Tony Maldonado has submitted a proposal asking Apple to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy ... to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.” But in an SEC filing, Apple’s board argued it already has “much broader” efforts at achieving diversity improvements in place. Apple claims Maldonado’s policy “is not necessary or appropriate because we have already demonstrated our commitment to a holistic view of inclusion and diversity.” Maldonado countered that the company is using the diversity numbers from its retail operations to mask the fact that it is doing less to promote women and minorities to the company’s higher posts.

Apple to fight Nebraska ‘right to repair’ bill

Apple is gearing up to fight “right to repair” legislation currently making its way through the Nebraska state legislature, Motherboard reports. Nebraska is one of eight states considering legislation that would force Apple and other electronics manufacturers to provide the public with diagnostic and service manuals so they can do their own repairs, but Nebraska is the first state to schedule hearings for the proposed law. A source within the legislature said “an Apple representative, staffer, or lobbyist” will testify against the bill during the March 9 hearing, arguing that customers trying to make their own modifications could cause the device’s lithium battery to catch fire. Apple declined to comment on the story, but the company has successfully lobbied against similar legislation in the past, most recently last year in New York. The bills gained new steam this year after being backed by the trade organization Repair.org and endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Apple eyeing another supplier for future OLED screens

Apple is currently in discussions with Chinese technology company BOE to begin supplying OLED screens for the iPhone as early as 2018, Bloomberg reports. Apple has currently contracted with Samsung to provide 160 million OLED displays for its 2017 iPhones, but people familiar with the discussions said Apple is considering adding BOE to its list of suppliers moving forward to offset the chances of experiencing an OLED display shortfall. BOE is building new OLED plants in China in anticipation of ramping up production in the hopes of becoming Apple’s first display provider outside of Japan and South Korea. LG is also set to begin supplying foldable OLED screens to Apple starting in 2018.

Facebook announces Apple TV app along with iOS app video improvements

Facebook has announced its rumored video-centric app for the Apple TV, alongside several other improvements to viewing videos within the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad. Originally rumored earlier this month to be in development, the new Facebook app is expected to “roll out soon” on the Apple TV App Store, alongside support for several other smart TV platforms and media devices such as Amazon’s Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. The new app will allow users to watch top videos, videos shared by friends and shared on Pages that they follow, recommended videos, and videos that have been saved to watch later.

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